Release Date: November 10, 2010
Publisher: Majesco
ESRB Rating: Everyone

If you have ever turned your television on, then you are probably aware of the countless infomercials for workout programs.  They promise sculpted abs, leaner arms, toned legs and fast weight loss. As alluring as those infomercials are, I have never succumbed to ordering any of their products.  I was, however, strongly tempted with Zumba, a high-energy, dancing workout routine. It wasn’t long after seeing the advertisements on TV that I heard that Majesco was going to release Zumba Fitness for the Wii.  I was ecstatic!

When I was finally able to acquire a copy of the game, I took it home and was pumped to get started.  I threw on some workout clothes and the one-size-fits-all Velcro belt that comes with the game. It’s designed to hold your Wii remote and leave your arms free as you jostle around the room.  I popped the disc int the Wii and was met by some upbeat calypso-salsa type music. Awesome!

First, I needed to create a profile.  I entered in my name and chose the level of difficulty, “Easy.” But then I got a little confused and didn’t know how to start the game.  After a little frustration, I discovered out that you have to back out of that screen- I felt much better when later I checked online to learn that I was not the only one that had issues with the setup.  At the top of the screen by the game title it will tell you what category you’re in. When in doubt, hit the “B” button to go back. So with my profile created, I decided to begin the “Tutorials.”

There are many tutorials to choose from, with a bunch of variations in each that you can repeat as many times as you like. The downside is that once you’ve completed the fairly short demonstration, it brings you back to the very first lesson and you have to scroll all the back to where you left off to choose the next dance step or to repeat the one you just did. Some of the main options in this section are Calypso, Cumbia, Merengue, Reggaeton, and Salsa. Calypso Basic is the first dance move so, naturally, I chose that one to begin with.

The instructor, a cyber-spectrum-colored-girl (who sounds like Jennifer Lopez), begins with an easy stepping move. Then suddenly she progresses to a more involved step and then an advanced step all in the matter of a few brief moments. There was no real direction given as far as how to step or where to step; you just have to watch the instructor and hope that you can pick up the pattern. I have never felt more uncoordinated and foolish. Thankfully, I was in my home and not in a classroom full of women watching as I twirled, hopped, and flapped my arms about. I tried the next tutorial and then the next and was not feeling successful at alll. I was so upset and aggravated that I was willing to trade the game in that night.

I took a break from it and went back a day later to give it another try. This time I skipped the training portion completely and went for a Zumba class. In the Solo Mode, it’s just you following the instructor again, but the pace feels more realistic. There is a bar at the bottom of the screen that tells you how much energy you’ve collected, which you earn by moving in sync with the dance coach. Once you reach a certain energy level the teacher is joined by background dancers.

The workout is about 20 minutes for beginners. You can unlock the 60 minute “Zumbathon” in the “Zumba Class” and the “Zumba Party” modes but that is at the advanced levels. There is a multiplayer option for up to four people, and if you are feeling a little competitive, you and a friend can take turns busting some moves to see who can earn the highest score in the “Zumba Attack” mode.  Another nice feature is a workout calendar. This allows you to customize your workout schedule and has some helpful tracking aspects.

I have never gone to a Zumba class, but after the five minute warm up, I definitely felt like I was getting a good workout. Going to an actual class might be helpful for beginners, as far as getting a better explanation of the steps is concerned. On the other hand, Zumba Fitness on the Wii is cheaper than signing up for a real class and you will experience a decent workout if you can keep up.

Ultimately, Zumba Fitness is a fun, although not perfect game. Why not challenge yourself and see if you can Zumba at home?


 
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